Opinion & Editorial

3-foot buffer for bicyclists – It’s the law

Yazmin Alvarez

Three feet doesn’t seem like much space, but for bicyclists, the 1 yard buffer between drivers could mean a life saving cushion. The California Department of Motor Vehicles has long suggested drivers to pass at a safe distance and has recommended three feet. Well now, it’s a California law. The Three Feet for Safety Act, passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, requires drivers to maintain a distance of three feet — 1 yard — when passing cyclists. It went into effect Tuesday. The new law reads: “A driver of a motor vehicle shall not overtake or pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway at a distance of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator.” The new law also states that if a driver is unable to give a cyclist three feet, due to traffic or road conditions (including weather and width of road), should slow down “and may only pass when doing so would not endanger the safety of the operator of the bicycle.” Drivers who break the law will get a $35 ticket, and if they hit a cyclist, the fine jumps to $225. But there are no fines for cyclists who get too close to cars. With that said, bicyclists are responsible for following safety rules as well, meaning, making sure they’re riding with traffic and not against it. So, is the new rule impossible for drivers to follow? Not really, just pay attention to the road and drive with caution as you should be. California joins 22 other states requiring drivers to keep their distance from bikes, and like any new rules, it is bound to cause confusion and raise concerns. The California Bicycle Coalition, CalBike – the group spearheading “I Give 3” — an outreach campaign aimed at educating the public about the law and why it’s so crucial for motorists to give at least three feet distance when passing a bicyclist — offers an idea on how to gauge if a driver is three feet away or spilling into that bicycle buffer zone. “Motorists park their cars with enough space so they can open the passenger-side door — which is about three feet wide — without hitting another car or wall. That’s how much clearance they should give a bicyclist when passing in the same lane. Or, motorists could just simply change lanes in most cases.” Other concerns including who’s measuring; what if moving three feet to the left to pass means going into oncoming traffic; what if a cyclist veers into the buffer zone; and will I really get a ticket, are also discussed on the groups website, calbike.org. Locally in Redlands, the city is asking for resident input for its 2014 Bicycle Master Plan – an effort to add more bike lanes throughout the city and create routes that will navigate through business areas, schools and the downtown area. The plan is currently being updated and those interested in provided recommendations for routes and bicycling improvements can visit the Redlands Bikeways Network available through the city’s website. Provided on the site is an interactive map that shows the various recommendations included in the community plan. All public input will be considered in the revisions made to the plan and the map, which will be closed for comments on Sept. 25th.

Have news, an event or want to recognize someone in the community? Send information to Community News Editor Yazmin Alvarez at iecn.yazmin@gmail.com or call 909-381-9898 ext. 207.

What does the city of Rialto have to offer?

Improve yourself, Rialto. Returning home to Rialto after graduating from college and 22-plus years as a public school educator, I am reminded of the IKEA commercial (the one where parents virtually eliminate their son’s bedroom to make way for a new state-of-the-art kitchen). I ask you, city of Rialto: What is it that you have to offer? Moments ago I watched ABC 7’s coverage of a new video made by Claremont designed to attract tourists. I ask: What would Rialto include in its own video? Have our city leaders gone to sleep while neighboring cities work? Victoria Gardens, Ontario Mills, Central Park, Pacific Electric Trail, Claremont Village, Claremont Colleges, Auto Speedway, Quakes Stadium … these attractions surround us! Trader Joe’s? A movie theater? Sprouts? Whole Foods? LA Fitness, Gold’s, Bally’s? What is happening here in Rialto? What is family entertainment here in Rialto? Are city planners on hiatus? Our “downtown” area (Riverside Avenue) is hardly walk-able. Where exactly does one ride a bike or run here in the city? Have you driven or walked the existing routes? They are few and perilous (random dogs, litter, uneven/broken pavement). The number of vacant, overgrown lots is shameful. We are rife with brown lawns, vacant homes and retail centers. It would seem that our leaders are encouraging residents to shop, dine and enjoy parks elsewhere rather than bringing that revenue home!

Aaron Olive, Rialto

Councilman Gonzales Misleads

Many members of Citizens for Colton First are angry and dismayed due to the actions and comments made by Mr. Gonzales at the last Council Meeting. He made numerous false, misleading and inflammatory statements regarding Citizens for Colton First. For example, he stated that a recent complaint filed with the city by members of the public, was done on behalf of Citizens for Colton First. This is simply not true! Let me be very clear on this: Citizens for Colton First had absolutely nothing to do with the complaint filed nor did most members of the group have any knowledge of such complaint until it was reported in the local newspapers. For Mr. Gonzales to say anything otherwise is nothing but false and misleading! Mr. Gonzales went on and stated several other things that were not only untrue, but inflammatory and potentially slanderous. Of course none of these statements were true. As a Council Member, Mr. Gonzales has taken a pledge to obey and follow rules as outlined in the council policy manual, Council Ethics and Norms. It is my opinion that Mr. Gonzales has not been truthful, has not shown respect and civility to the citizens as required in the policy and appears to be conducting his own personal agenda while on the Dias, to name just a few of the violations. At the next council meeting, I will be asking the city council to take action against Mr. Gonzales and hold him accountable for his reprehensible actions. The citizens of this city deserve better! I also call on Mr. Gonzales to retract his false and misleading statements and apologize to the members of Citizens for Colton First.

Steven Cade

Principle Officer, Citizens for Colton First

Corrupting Our Politics

A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll showed a remarkable 79% of Americans are fed up with our political system. With continued dispiriting news abroad, dysfunction in Washington and a general stagnation of the economy, it’s no wonder the American people have lost faith. Particularly now, with Citizens United, our democratic process has been overtaken by narrow corporate interests. It’s about power and influence, not about voters and constituents. Excessive campaign spending doesn’t just dirty our politics and corrupt individual elections, it also undermines our faith in the system. In the past our democratic system has brought us back from the brink, time and again, by responding to the changing needs of people. It’s the lack of faith in the system that troubles me most. We need to shift our attention away from day to day problems and understand how the corrupting influence of money permeates all the challenges we’re trying to address. Outcomes beneficial to all of us on everything from food and drug regulation to global warming are dependent on serious campaign finance reform. Only when people feel they are heard by our political system will their optimism return, and, I’d bet, be followed by better news on many fronts.

Jeff Green

The GOP has done nothing for America’s middle class

Almost every day, I read opinions submitted by Republicans, the tea party or the religious right talking about the same things: anti-Obama this or the government that, or contraception is bad. What the Democratic Party has done for the middle class is obvious and well-documented: everything from Social Security, Medicare, civil rights, to the five-day work week and the minimum wage — just to name a few. So, here are my two questions: Can anyone name one single thing that the Republican Party has done to benefit the middle class? Second, can anyone name one passage in the Bible where it says, specifically, that contraception is prohibited? Hope to hear from those who think that restricting a women’s right to any form of contraception is acceptable.

Joe Colella, Mentone


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